Adam and Eve and Steve

Michael Van Duzer Reviews - Theater

In Chandler Warren and Wayne Moore’s amiable new musical Adam & Eve and Steve, Eden was a little more populated than we’ve been told. An enthusiastically competitive Beelzebub throws a wrench into God’s plans by making sure that Adam’s first encounter with another human is Steve, not the intended Eve. The two become fast friends, though Steve definitely wants more. The balance of the slight plot finds a determined Eve resolutely staking her claim as Adam dithers between potential mates and Beelzebub quarrels with God.

Warren’s joke-filled book makes Genesis a cartoon, though definitely of the Adult Swim variety. The characters, particularly the flamboyant Steve, are buoyantly unapologetic stereotypes. Late into the 90-minute show, the script stumbles a bit as it moves into more heartfelt territory, but Ronnie Marmo’s tight direction smooths the stylistic switch. Warren’s notes indicate that the show was written some time ago, and the updated cultural references don’t completely mask the show’s feel of over-familiarity. This is exacerbated by some musical theater echoes which are hard to ignore—Beelzebub conjures Damn Yankees’ Mr. Applegate, while some of Eve’s early moments recall The Apple Tree. Moore’s score is bright and buoyant with attractive, if not particularly memorable, melodies.

The main reason to see Adam & Eve and Steve is to hear the strong-voiced cast fill the theater without any need for amplification. Weton Nathanson is an appropriately truculent Beelzebub, while William Knight’s stentorian God makes us wish he had more onstage time. Michael Spaziani makes an attractive and endearingly bewildered Adam with a potent bari-tenor sound. Jotape Lockwood cheerfully throws himself into even the hoariest of Steve’s clichés and sings with assurance. Kelley Dorney is a vibrant and mischievous Eve, who ably steals every scene she is in. Her rich and expressive voice is the vocal highlight amongst a musically plush group of performers.

NoHo Arts Center   July 10 – August 30, 2015